Art Modell, the controversial former owner of the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens, has died at the age of 87, according to WBFF-TV in Baltimore. Reports late Wednesday suggested that Modell had been hospitalized and was gravely ill. WBFF-TV reports that Modell died early Thursday due to heart failure. The Ravens quickly confirmed the news via their official website.
Modell bought the Browns in 1961 and is considered one of the founding fathers of the NFL. In 1996, he made himself a villain in Cleveland by moving the team to Baltimore, which had lost the Colts to Indianapolis some 13 years prior. The NFL forced Modell to leave the Browns moniker and branding in Cleveland, and the league awarded the city an expansion team a few years later. But the Ravens went on to win Super Bowl XXXV in 2000 -- the only Super Bowl victory in Modell's tenure -- while the Browns have made the playoffs just once since expansion in 1999.
Modell sold his majority interest in the team in 2004.
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